Chelsea survive FA Cup scare after Abramovich puts club up for sale



Chelsea survived a major FA Cup fear, reaching the quarter-finals with a 3-2 win over Luton, just hours after Roman Abramovich put the club up for sale on Wednesday.

Thomas Tuchel’s squad took to the field at Kenilworth Road for the fifth round draw, with their heads still spinning from Abramovich’s announcement.

The Russian billionaire has decided to sell Chelsea over fears he could face sanctions by the British government during his country’s invasion of Ukraine.

Abramovich, who is said to have close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin, will give the net proceeds from the sale to victims of the war in Ukraine, with his asking price starting at a reported £3 billion ($4 billion) .

After his massive investment helped Chelsea win 19 major trophies during his 19-year reign, Abramovich admitted it had been “incredibly difficult” to give up the keys to Chelsea.

It was fitting that Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku completed Chelsea’s breakaway act on the day the Abramovich era entered its final chapter.

Chelsea trailed twice against second-rate Luton before Lukaku scooped the winner in the closing stages to spare their blushes.

Abramovich approved the club record £97million that Lukaku took from Inter Milan last year in the last blockbuster transfer of his reign.

Asked about the sale, Tuchel admitted it was impossible to imagine Chelsea without Abramovich.

“All I can think about is Chelsea with Roman Abramovich. So it’s very difficult for me. It’s not yet dawning on us that this is going to stop. It’s a huge change of course,” said Tuchel.

‘I don’t know as much as you might think. I am not a CEO or a member of the board of directors. So I’m sure the club will talk to us and the players.

“I’m not too worried because I still feel privileged and in a good place. I am never afraid of change and will focus on what I can influence, and this is staff and team.”

It was a much-needed victory for Chelsea after their painful penalty shoot-out defeat in the League Cup final against Liverpool at Wembley on Sunday.

But it was Abramovich’s seismic decision to sell that caught the eye on tiny Kenilworth Road.

Chelsea’s traveling fans chanted Abramovich’s name as news of the impending sale trickled in before kick-off.

– Lukaku to the rescue –

Chants of “we all won” provoked a bitter response from Luton supporters, who chanted “you bought it all” in response to the millions Abramovich had invested in constellations.

Chelsea conceded a shocking goal in the second minute as Reece Burke surged over Malang Sarr to send his header past Kepa Arrizabalaga.

Tuchel’s side struck back in the 27th minute when Saul Niguez scored for the first time since his August move from Atlético Madrid.

Saul hammered a controlled finish from the edge of the area after Timo Werner launched a sharp counterattack.

Sarr made another mistake in the 40th minute when he tried unsuccessfully to get offside and Harry Cornick sprinted on Carlos Mendes Gomes’ pass to score Luton’s second goal.

Chelsea equalized in the 68th minute as Werner checked Ruben Loftus-Cheek’s superb high pass to score his first goal in eight games.

Lukaku has yet to pay back much of that gargantuan fee, but he scored his 11th goal of the season when he reached out to tap in Werner’s cross in the 78th minute.

Liverpool maintained their bid for an unprecedented fourfold as Takumi Minamino’s double sealed a 2-1 win against Norwich at Anfield.

Japanese striker Minamino put Liverpool ahead in the 27th minute with a clinical finish from Divock Origi’s pass.

He scored again in the 38th minute, this time hitting the inside of the post, before Lukas Rupp got one back for Norwich in the 76th minute.

Liverpool won the League Cup last weekend and are firmly in contention for the Premier League and Champions League, with no English side ever winning all four trophies in one season.

“If you make 10 changes, you can’t expect perfection. We are in four competitions, three of which are left, because of the quality of the squad,” said Reds boss Jurgen Klopp.

Elsewhere, Southampton went on to win 3-1 against West Ham at St Mary’s.

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